Anger? Relationship troubles? Fatigue? Restlessness? Financial difficulties? COVID-19 “long-hauler” symptoms? Social anxiety? Comfort eating? Substance abuse?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started unfolding in late 2019, the stress we have endured as a local and global community has been relentless. From frontline and essential workers who have actively served the public, to those who had the ability to work from home or to those who have lost their income, there has been no shortage of the unnatural physical and psychological isolation we have all felt. What is becoming clear as we begin to see the hope of the brighter days ahead, there is a mental health crisis waiting in the wings.
In our culture that prides itself on a “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” sense of self-reliance, asking for help–especially for matters of the heart and mind, does not come easily. Just as we have had to pull together and reach out in new ways to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we now need to do the same to address how living through a pandemic has taken its toll on the body, mind and heart.
With a shared mission of whole person health, Aspen Valley Hospital and Aspen Strong have joined forces and resources to create a series of live community discussions to provide information and direction to the public who have been affected by the pandemic.
Our second hour-long community discussion, “The Body’s Response To The Pandemic” featured a panel of subject matter experts with clinical understanding and emotional empathy to meet the emerging effects of stress and uncertainty brought about by the global pandemic.
Karen Locke, MD
Dr. Karen Locke has been practicing medicine in the Roaring Fork Valley with her husband, Dr. Kelly Locke, since 1999. In 2019, the Lockes partnered with Aspen Valley Hospital to start Aspen Valley Primary Care. Dr. Locke studied Biology at Colorado College before earning her medical degree from the University of Kansas. She completed her residency at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire Family Medicine Residency, and is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. Before moving to the Roaring Fork Valley, Drs. Karen and Kelly Locke lived in Germany, where he practiced for the U.S. Air Force and she treated civilians through the American Red Cross. Dr. Locke sees patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Her areas of interest include women’s health, adolescents, hormones, and mental health issues. Dr. Locke feels fortunate to have raised her family in the Roaring Fork Valley where they can enjoy the mountains, the seasons and the people who call this place home.
Kristi Nicholls, MA, NCC, LPC
Kristi is a Colorado native and has been working in the Roaring Fork Valley for over 30 years.
Her counseling practice, Designs for Wellness, is focused on people with treatment resistant depression and anxiety, suicidal ideation, and PTSD. Her specialties are Somatic Psychotherapy and Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy. Her experience has shown these therapies work well in achieving more timely and durable relief for her clients.
Sean Van Horn
Elite Endurance Athlete
Sean Van Horn is an endurance athlete in the Roaring Fork valley and is a strong advocate for mental health awareness in the community. While he has spent 20 years competing as an elite athlete, during much of that time he was battling with psychological issues such as depression and an eating disorder. Sean is unabashed in sharing his own struggles in the hopes that it can aid others and help to erode the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.
Jeffrey Cole, MA, LPC, CAC, BAC & Lori Ann Kret, MSW, LCSW, LAC, BCC
Lori and Jeff are married, licensed therapists and board-certified coaches specializing in couple-to-couple coaching. Together, they provide clients with the insight, awareness and guidance to create healthy, intimate, and fulfilling bonds.
Lori and Jeff met as colleagues, working together for years as licensed therapists with couples in all stages and states of relationship. They discovered a much deeper connection and journeyed through the joys and challenges of dating to create a marriage that is powerful, tender, raw and intimate. They established Aspen Relationship Institute as the culmination of years of experience guiding couples to fulfillment and their own profound passion for authentic connection.